Winter Driving Lowdown

Keep driving safely this winter with our tips and guidance!

Posted on | Posted in General

Keep yourself & your drivers safe

With dark nights and unpredictable weather the norm for the next few months, it's important to protect yourself and your drivers from unnecessary risk. So read on for our useful guides, and interesting snippets of information you might not have known!

Winter driving can be a significant cause of increased accidents, meaning increased repair costs, third party claims and driver injuries. And despite reduced festive plans, it’s likely that the period will see an increase in road users, many of whom will be driving again for the first time in many months.

As such, we thought it would be helpful to set out some tips, information and myths about winter driving to help ensure your winter period is happy, healthy and accident-free.

Before you set out

  • Make sure you have more than enough fuel to complete your journey. Remember – you may be waylaid or diverted en route to your destination.
  • Check that your oil is at the right level – you may be stuck in traffic for sustained periods and the correct amount of oil will reduce the chances of your vehicle overheating.
  • Ensure that your tyres are properly inflated and in good condition – this will give your vehicle a safe grip on the road.
  • Check that your lights are all working properly – shorter days and adverse weather will require drivers to have maximum visibility on any journey.
  • Make sure that you have adequate screenwash – bad winter weather can cause windscreens to become dirty and foggy.
  • Accumulating condensation can be indicative of the vehicle’s seals failing. This ingress of water vapour can lead to problems with the engine, electrics or door locks and should be checked by a quality garage.

Insurance considerations

  • Winter tyres are a popular addition to a vehicle during the winter months. However some insurers may view the addition of these types of tyre as a disclosable modification and therefore you should tell us if you are considering making this change to your vehicle.
  • It is often tempting to leave your vehicle’s engine running while you are de-icing windows or simply getting ready to start your journey. However most insurance policies will view this as leaving your vehicle ‘unattended’ and may not pay a claim if your vehicle is stolen while your engine is running but you are elsewhere.
  • Crashes on ice may seem to be more an ‘act of God’ than driver fault, but in terms of insurance claims liability will in most cases be deemed to attach to the vehicle that has lost control. As such, drivers should proceed with the utmost caution, driving in accordance with the conditions of the road and maintaining an extra-long stopping distance behind the vehicle in front.

Yes? No? Maybe?

We're busting myths and answering the questions you never knew you needed to know!

Is it illegal to drive with ice on my windscreen?

YES.

If your windscreen is obstructed in any way, the police can fine you – don’t be tempted to set off with a partially-cleared windscreen.

Is it illegal to drive with snow on my roof?

MAYBE.

It is not strictly illegal to drive with snow on your roof, although if it falls onto your windscreen or into the path of another vehicle you could be fined.

Is it the law to carry a winter emergency kit in my vehicle?

NO

However just because there is no law enforcing it, we would recommend that all drivers carry items in their vehicle in case of emergency. These can include:

    • Ice-scraper and de-icer
    • Torch and spare batteries
    • Warm clothes/blankets
    • Hi-vis jacket
    • Boots with a good grip
    • First aid kit
    • Jump-start cables
    • Empty fuel can
    • Food and drink
    • Shovel
    • Two reflective warning signs
    • Road atlas
    • Sunglasses
    • Portable battery charger

Is it illegal to leave my engine running to defrost a windscreen?

YES

So no more sitting drinking your morning coffee & waiting for the windscreen to clear. ‘Engine idling’ is an offence and drivers can be fined by the police if caught.

We hope you found this helpful!

Remember, we’re always on hand to help if you get into any mishaps. Either download our claims app below, or speak to our award winning team.

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